Review of the 2014 Welsh Grand National

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EC5The Racing Horse takes this opportunity to thank the team at Chepstow Racecourse for their hospitality and welcome for our visit to the 2014 Coral Welsh Grand National!

We had the most fabulous (and profitable) day and the weather was perfect. The inherent ground conditions over course and distance ultimately provided a result that was expected! Senior Clerk of the Course Keith Ottesen had already told us in the morning that the going was heavy and soft in places, when you add the fact the sun and breeze were drying out clods of earth within the description the ground was always going to be cloggy! This was going to be the ultimate test and those carrying weight had their chance negated!


Emperor’s Choice was one of our choices to win the 2014 Welsh Grand National at an advised price of 25/1. On the day he started at 16/1 but was backed into 9/1. Here is what we said of the race on Wednesday:

Like all big handicaps the race is not a betting proposition but there are a few clues to the race for those who must bet or fancy a flutter. For example, the last 10 winners have been aged six, seven or eight years old. The last time a horse older than nine won the race was in 1993 when Riverside Boy won! This would be of little consequence if veterans had only a small representation, but 25% of the runners in the last decade have been 10yo or older. There cannot be any question – the majority of older horses run poorly!

Apart from insisting the horse be aged 6, 7 or 8yo The Racing Horse said: “The average SP of the winner has been close to 10/1 carrying close to 10st 8lbs.” Emperor’s Choice was a 7yo, had a SP of 9/1 and carried 10st 8lbs. I think most would agree it was a fabulous piece of work giving our members a chance against the bookmaker! We always talk of value before selecting and our advice was at 25/1 and the price we secured! Our racing trends accompanied with our rationale is a must read! We confidently nominated Silviniaco Conti (best price 3/1) using the same parameters yesterday.


Emperor’s Choice had not quite been at his best in a pair of starts this time around but showed he stays forever and loves testing ground. We expected him to come to the fore in this gruelling race. The consensus was that he jumped better than he has done in the past but the 7yo appeared to have blown his chance when making a mistake in the home straight, initially handing the initiative to the Irish challenger Glenquest!

The win gave Venetia Williams her first victory in the race since 2000. Jockey Aidan Coleman was ecstatic and said: “I've ridden a lot of big winners, I've been very lucky, but I think this tops it. I've never had a feeling like that when the photo was called, it's such a prestigious race and to win it for Venetia and the team is great. These are great owners of ours. Venetia is a world class trainer and she deserves better horses.”


Venetia said: “I never dreamed he would make the running in a race like this, I didn't think he was quick enough. That was really special for me. We had a box up in the gods and all the owners were there - I think they heard us the other side of the River Severn. When Emperor’s Choice was up there leading I was worried they must be going too slow or the ground wasn’t slow enough. I feared there’d be too many of the others travelling well turning for home that he’d get outspeeded. That was his best ever round of jumping and there’s potential for more improvement. He could be a National horse, but not this season."

Benvolio's trainer Paul Nicholls said: "He’s run his heart out and kept picking up. This was his aim as he likes soft ground so I’m not sure what we’ll do now. He’s a young horse though and might just have some improvement in him." Tom Scudamore, who rode Monbeg Dude, said: "We’re delighted, especially with the weight he was carrying. I imagine the Grand National will be the plan unless the ground is too quick."

The first meeting at Chepstow in 2015 is on Friday 16th January followed by Friday 30th January. Information:

01291 622260

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